Proposal Workshops 2021


Past Workshop Slides and Videos

Finding Grant Funding; by University of Minnesota Libraries: Slides HERE (2020 Fall)Writing Fundable Grants in the Humanities and Social Sciences; by Dr. Noro Andriamanalina: Video HERE (2019 Spring)Writing Grant Proposals in the Sciences & Engineering; by Dr. Esam El-Fakahany: Video HERE (2019 Spring)

Writing Fundable Grant Proposals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Presented by: Dr. Noro Andriamanalina (Director of Academic and Professional Development, Graduate School)

September 21st (Tuesday), 2021 @ 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. (CDT)

This workshop is for graduate students seeking to apply for grants and fellowships within and external to the University of Minnesota. This highly interactive session will focus on general components of a proposal and strategies to increase your chances of getting funding. Examples of successful proposals for various types of funding sources will be discussed. Register

Writing Fundable Grant Proposals in the Sciences and Engineering

Presented by: Dr. Kumi Smith (Epidemiology and Community Health)

September 28th (Tuesday), 2021 @ 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. (CDT)

In the words of science writing guru, Joshua Schimel, "as a scientist, you are a professional writer: your career is built on successful proposals and papers." Why, then, is so little of our time in graduate schools devoted to writing? In this workshop you will learn the fundamentals of science writing, particularly as it pertains to writing winning proposals. We will discuss the importance of storytelling and persuasion as well as strategies to foster a sustainable writing habit. Register

Individual Grants

Career Development Grant

This Career Grant is intended to pay costs associated with the development of graduate student careers. The maximum award is $900. Possible eligible expenses might include travel and fees associated with professional development workshops, learning new techniques essential for your career (e.g. Polymerase Chain Reaction method, “Programming for Biologists” short course), and travel to internships. Students interested in attending and presenting at conferences should instead apply for the COGS Conference Grant. The award cannot be used to fund research projects.

Conference Grant

This Grant is intended for presenting original work at a conference with a poster, oral presentation, or other acceptable format. The maximum award is $900. The award cannot be used to fund research projects. The work presented must be affiliated with the University of Minnesota.

COGS Research Support Grant

The COGS Research Support Grant offers awards of up to $500, on a competitive basis, to assist COGS fee-paying graduate students with funds to support conducting research and/or participating in research-related conferences, workshops, competitions, or seminars.  The primary purpose of this grants program is to support graduate students in the pursuit of their academic scholarship and the timely completion of their graduate degrees.  

Examples of some of the cases for which COGS research support grants were awarded in prior years: research subject fees paid to interview participants; research instruments and supplies; conference child care costs at conference.

Applications must document the research expense for which funding is requested, explain how that expense is important to the research project or the applicant’s research career,  and show that the needed funding is not available through their academic program or advisor.

All grants are reviewed by a volunteer committee of graduate students. Decisions are based on the motions made by the committee. No grant is subject to a decision made by a single person.


Any student represented by COGS -- all "GRD-designated" and non-professional graduate students on the Twin Cities campus -- is eligible to apply for a COGS grant. You will need a current tuition bill showing the Council of Graduate Students fee assessment or a current registration summary showing Doctoral FTE 8444, Masters FTE 8777, or GRAD 8888.

Each student may submit one application from each of the two categories every semester. This means a student can submit a maximum of one conference application and one career development application. Limit to one conference or career development "activity" per application.

If you are uncertain whether you are eligible to apply for COGS grants, please email with your inquiry.

Previous grant recipients ARE eligible to apply for COGS grants.

New update on eligibility

GRAD 999: Students registered in 999 courses are not COGS-fee paying students automatically. However, students registered for 999 courses may volunteer to pay the COGS fee by emailing

NOTE: If your tuition bill shows that you pay the Professional Student Government fee, you are NOT eligible for COGS grants. Instead, explore PSG grant options HERE.

Event Timing

Fall 2021 Grants: events and activities must occur between September 07th, 2021, and January 18th, 2022.

Spring 2022 Grants: events and activities must occur between January 19th, 2022 and May 17th, 2022.

Summer 2022 Grants: events and activities must occur between May 18th, 2022 and September 06th, 2022.

An event (including conference travel) that has already occurred by the time the grant will be reviewed will be considered for a grant for reimbursement on the same basis as an activity that has not yet occurred.

Reimbursement Process

Grant recipients will be asked to provide itemized receipts for all of their expenses associated with the grant activity. Upon receiving the receipts and a revised budget form reflecting actual expenses and sources of funding, COGS will disburse funds via PayPal.

Contact Information

For questions about grants, please email:


Watch our Training Video with tips on how to complete your application and write effective proposals and budgets HERE!

Fall 2021 Application: for activities occurring between September 07th, 2021 and January 18th, 2022


It is advisable to complete the application form in a separate Word document and then fill out the Google application form with the required basic information. At the end of the Google application form, you will be able to upload your application form along with all other application materials. Please be sure to upload your application materials as one single .pdf form and labeled properly with your X500_application (e.g. kunal001_application_need | kunal001_application_travel | kunal001_application_career)

NOTE** recommendation letters: instruct your letter writer to save the letter as a .pdf and label it with the student's X500. If you are applying to both grants, inform your adviser to label each recommendation letter as the following: (e.g. kunal001_recommendation_need | kunal001_recommendation_travel | kunal001_recommendation_career).

Fall 2021 Applications are open until October 16th (Saturday), 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (CDT)

Conference Grant Application: Graduate students who are presenting original work at a conference (e.g. posters, oral presentations.)

  • Conference Grant Application Form

  • Submit the completed Conference Grant Application: HERE

  • Share the following link with your recommender: HERE

  • Maximum amount $900

Career Development Grant Application: Graduate students who are attending workshops, training, short courses, or traveling to internships for professional development.

  • Career Development Grant Application Form

  • Submit the completed Career Development Grant Application: HERE

  • Share the following link with your recommender: HERE

  • Maximum amount $900

COGS Research Support Grant: Graduate students who require support conducting research and/or participating in research-related conferences, workshops, competitions, or seminars.

  • Research Support Grant Application Form

  • Submit the completed Research Support Grant Application: HERE

  • Share the following link with your recommender: HERE

  • Maximum amount $500

Selection Criteria

Applicants’ academic merit and financial need (as previously defined) are evaluated based on:

  • A statement of financial need;

  • A strong, well-written personal statement that explains what the grant funds will be used for;

  • One recommendation letter that addresses the applicant's financial need and academic merit;

  • Evidence of academic promise via research record, grades, and/or reference letters; and

  • An official letter from your Department displaying income and academic appointment.

Recommendation Letters

Please ask your adviser, DGS, professor, or University of Minnesota supervisor to provide a letter of recommendation in support of your grant application. The recommendation should certify that you are currently enrolled and in good standing, and it should also describe your merits and the merits of your proposed grant activity. Because of the competitive nature of these grants, please select a recommender who will have the time required to write you a strong recommendation.

Your recommender will submit his/her recommendation online. Please share the appropriate link for your particular application with your recommender.

NOTE** for recommenders: The letter writer must be saved as a .pdf and labeled with the student's X500. Example of how your recommender should save their letter: kunal001_recommendation

You may submit your application prior to the letter of recommendation, but your application will not be complete until the recommendation is received. Recommendations are due by the application deadline.

Application Success Rates

NOTE** Upon request, applicants may inquire about reviewer comments on their application.

Fall 2018: 118 applications, 26 awards (some full funding, some partial funding) = 22% of individual grant applicants received some funding

Spring 2019: 67 applications, 21 awards (some full funding, some partial funding) = 31% of individual grant applicants received some funding

Please be advised that the Conference Grants and Career Development Grants are highly competitive. Only the most competitive applications receive funding, and due to limited funds, the funding is often partial.

Grants Review Committee

Members of the Grants Committee review and score applications for the highly competitive COGS grants. The Grants Committee is at the heart of our competitive process for allocating grant funding. Each application is read thoroughly and scored by at least two committee members in the weeks before the working meetings, and the committee as a whole makes awards after discussing the applications. In the unlikely event that we are unable to finish making awards during a working meeting we'll schedule a follow-up meeting.

Good reasons to be on the grants committee:

It's fun and collegiate

It's a good way to build your own grant-writing skills – our review process is designed to reflect a “realistic” model of grant award and review

You get to learn a lot about the research and student activities going on across campus

We get to help people do cool, interesting things

There's free food at our working meetings


After the sign-up deadline each member will receive a document ("how to review grants") that will be informative on how to review a grant. Each member will also be responsible for signing a confidentiality agreement that will be sent out to them in the same email following sign-up deadline.

If anyone feels that they would like an in-person explanation on how to review a grant after going through the "how to" document, don't hesitate to reach out to the director of grants.

Members will then be assigned one or two sets of grants to review. Typically each set is 8 grants. Within a set, each grant is graded from 1-8 (8 being the highest). Review member will be given about a week to complete their reviews.

At the grant review meeting, individuals are responsible for speaking about the grants that they reviewed. Each meeting takes around three hours and food is provided.


Any COGS graduate student is eligible to apply. While committee members will have to recuse themselves from discussing any application where they have a conflict of interest, committee service doesn't make you ineligible to apply for grants.

Interested in Serving on the COGS Grants Committee?

Sign up: HERE

Please sign the Confidentiality Form: HERE

Email with any questions.

Guidelines Subject to Change at Any Time

Rules of the grant program and grant applications are subject to change at any time by the COGS Executive Board. Nothing on this website or in the grant application is intended to bind the COGS Executive Board with one exception: the non-discrimination statement immediately below.

Nondiscrimination Statement

COGS (the Council of Graduate Students) is a student organization at the University of Minnesota. COGS will provide these grants without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

A reference directory for other sources of funding can be found here.

Application Statistics , 2018-2019

For additional information about the previous academic grant applications contact:

This grants page of the COGS website is managed by COGS Director of Communications and Public Affairs: Dong-gyu Kim.

Please write to him if you have any questions -